Monday, August 8, 2011

The Southwest Road Trip: Santa Fe, The City Different

Days 5-6: Santa Fe  

As I mentioned in this post, the smoke-filled sky really bummed us out when we first arrived in Santa Fe -- and we were worried that the wildfire in Arizona would ruin our entire stay. When we woke up our first full day in Santa Fe and checked out the window, the smoke has magically drifted away. We were thrilled! 

We fell in love with Santa Fe. I love that the city has a small-town vibe and lots of history, art and culture. You can't go wrong will all of that cheerful turquoise & sunshine! Also, everyone we met was super nice. I don't think we'll ever leave California but if we did, I could see us living in Santa Fe. (If only Santa Fe was a bit closer to the ocean -- then it would be just perfect.)

After breakfast the first day we took Abbie for a walk to the plaza.

We spend some time wandering around Saint Francis Cathedral

Later on John and I stumbled upon this French breakfast/lunch spot called Saveur. We split a veggie sandwich that was so delicious that we came back the next day! 

Next we hit up the Georgia O'Keefee Museum & a few galleries

We ended the afternoon by taking Abbie to an off-leash dog park that was a nice 20-minute drive from our B&B. We thought she might like running free after being trapped in the car for more than 10 hours the day before. Before the trip I had looked up the park online and read that it was little-known and large. I had no idea it was going to be this large! The park went on and on!

It was such a beautiful day. Love those fluffy clouds!


Abbie had such a blast. Here she is chilling out under a tree after running to her heart's content.

At night the smoke rolled back in. The air smelled like a campfire.

The manager at the B&B laughed at us when we told her that we planned to check out this place called Lulu's Chinese for dinner because Santa Fe isn't exactly known for its Chinese food. But I guess it makes sense for us -- we were the people that went out for Chinese while we were in Paris! Although there was a bit of a mix-up when trying to explain that we wanted veggie chow-mein, the fried rice and egg rolls were delicious!

The next day we spent the afternoon walking around town again, starting off with a visit to the "Oldest House in the U.S."

The house, which has been turned into a museum and gift shop, includes the remains of Juan Espinoza. Once upon a time Juan paid two brujas (witches), who lived in the house, a bunch of gold to mix up a love potion for him. When the potion didn't win him the girl he tried to kill the brujas, but they ended up cutting his head off with his own sword. Aren't you glad you now know that story too?! Don't worry, I don't think those are really Juan Espinoza's remains. The lady running the gift shop didn't necessarily say they weren't though.

We also strolled down Canyon Road, which features more than 100 galleries and studios

So much to see!

The rest of the afternoon was spent souvenir shopping, checking out the Loretto Chapel & the miraculous staircase and grabbing another sandwich at Saveur to eat in the B&B courtyard. And of course we couldn't miss tea time!

We were *this* close to ordering a pizza for dinner but decided we had to wrap up Santa Fe right with a Southwestern meal. After randomly reading a copy of "New Mexico Magazine" and seeing that Rancho de Chimayo had won the award for best vegetarian meal, we knew that's where we were going. I had gone there with my family when I was maybe 10 and was looking forward to trying it again. The restaurant is located about 40 minutes from our B&B in the community of Chimayo.

That night the smoke from the wildfire once again rolled in, making for some amazing,eerie photos.

John and I had a great time enjoying the gorgeous scenery and skies on our drive

Rancho de Chimayo

We split the vegetarian plate with a tamale, enchilada and bean burrito. Everything was SO good. Definitely the best meal we had in Santa Fe and one of the best of the trip. I only regret that we didn't get to the restaurant before the gift shop closed. I'm quite tempted to order some salsa or chile from their website! Oh, and the sangria wasn't half bad either!

One of the books we read before the trip, "The Insider's Guide To Santa Fe," claimed that the flan at Rancho de Chimayo "may be the best version of this dish in the world." We laughed about the description and thought the authors must be exaggerating a bit. Of course we had to try it for ourselves.

Guys -- it really was the BEST flan in the world. Before trying their version, I didn't even really like flan! Now I'm dreaming of returning to Rancho de Chimayo for some more! And next time I might have to have a piece of flan all to myself! 


Tristan said...

You had some amazing pics from your awesome road trip..HOW FUN!!!!!

Johnny said...

Man, we had fun, huh?